WASHINGTON – President-elect Donald Trump came out swinging at the media in his first news conference since the election, livid over lurid and unverified reports he ridiculed as fake news.
Just before Trump spoke, incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer ripped a bizarre conspiracy theory pushed by U.S. intelligence agencies and the establishment media that appears to be falling apart by the hour.
Their statements were a pointed rebuttal Wednesday to accusations the campaign had contacts with Russian officials, and the president-elect blasted two American media outlets for publishing the reports, saying they were unsubstantiated.
Trump said the report “should never have been written and never have been released,” before praising other news outlets and saying his estimation of them had gone up a notch.
“I do have to say and I must say that I want to thank a lot of the news organizations here today because they looked at that nonsense that was released by maybe the intelligence agencies,” Trump said. “But maybe the intelligence agencies, which would be a tremendous blot on their record if they did that. A thing like that should never have been written, it should never have been had and it certainly should have never been released.”
Trump also said for the first time he believes Russia was behind hacking ahead of the election.
Spicer was first up at the podium, blasting BuzzFeed News as a “left-wing blog” and condemning its “irresponsible” decision to publish the dossier.
“Before we start, I want to bring your attention to a few points on the report that was published in BuzzFeed last night. It is frankly outrageous and highly irresponsible left-wing blog that was openly hostile to the presidential campaign to drop highly salacious flat-out false information on the Internet just days before he takes the oath of office.”
Spicer accused BuzzFeed and CNN of engaging in “a sad and pathetic attempt to get clicks.”
“It is not an intelligence report plain and simple,” he said.
“It is frankly shameful and disgraceful.”
Vice president-elect Mike Pence also attacked the mainstream media for reporting “fake news” in an effort to de-legitimize the election.
It all began Tuesday night when BuzzFeed News published a sensational, lurid and unverified account that “A dossier, compiled by a person who has claimed to be a former British intelligence official, alleges Russia has compromising information on Trump.”
The dossier alleged, “That the Russian government has been ‘cultivating, supporting and assisting’ President-elect Donald Trump for years and gained compromising information about him.”
The most bizarre and sensational claim in the document is that Trump, knowing the Obamas had slept there, rented the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Moscow, then hired prostitutes to urinate upon the bed.
CNN picked up on the story Tuesday night, alleging that “Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.”
The Washington Post then reported the story, and then BuzzFeed published the full version of the document, even though it attached the broad disclaimer that its authenticity was “unverified and potentially unverifiable.”
Part of the story alleges Trump aide Michael Cohen went to Prague to coordinate activities with Russian agents.
However, all the main characters involved in the story are adamantly denying it.
Trump tweeted: “FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”
He added, “Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?”
And, “Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!”
Russian President Vladimir Putin denied his country had collected or was holding any incriminating evidence on Trump.
Cohen produced his passport on MSNBC to show he had never even been to Prague.
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus called the report “offensive crap that we shouldn’t even be talking about. This is garbage … shameful is what it is.”
Perhaps the most damning evidence that the news is fake comes from the apparent source of the story, the website 4Chan, which now claims it fabricated the entire story as a hoax.
According to ZeroHedge “4Chan now claims that the infamous ‘golden showers’ scene in the unverified 35-page dossier, allegedly compiled by a British intelligence officer, was a hoax and fabricated by a member of the chatboard as ‘fanfiction,’ then sent to Rick Wilson, who proceeded to send it to the CIA, which then put it in their official classified intelligence report on the election.”
Wilson is a GOP political strategist and media consultant who virulently opposed Trump.
But there is another report that intelligence officials were given the questionable document by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
According to the Daily Mail, “Sworn Donald Trump enemy John McCain admitted Wednesday that he passed the dossier of claims of a Russian blackmail plot against the president-elect.”
McCain has now publicly admitted he turned over something, and it seems to be the document in question.
“Late last year, I received sensitive information that has since been made public,” he said in a public statement.
“Upon examination of the contents, and unable to make a judgment about their accuracy, I delivered the information to the Director of the FBI. That has been the extent of my contact with the FBI or any other government agency regarding this issue,” he added.
Then this morning the Guardian reported the FBI applied for a warrant to spy on the Trump team, and may have gotten one.
The Guardian said it “has learned that the FBI applied for a warrant from the foreign intelligence surveillance (Fisa) court over the summer in order to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials. The Fisa court turned down the application asking FBI counter-intelligence investigators to narrow its focus. According to one report, the FBI was finally granted a warrant in October, but that has not been confirmed, and it is not clear whether any warrant led to a full investigation.”